Are you looking for an engaging way to focus on natural-sounding idiomatic language, pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm? Wanting to focus on these particular elements, I did what I always do when I wanted to fill a gap: I searched the internet. While I found a number of resources for dialogues, I was mostly disappointed with what I had found. I found short dialogues that were disconnected and unnatural where the intention was clearly language-focused – but with the result of feeling meaningless and maybe even pandering. I tried a few of those dialogues and quickly thought: I wouldn’t enjoy this if I were learning a language.
Do you use rubrics to support self-assessment, peer-assessment, and skill assessment? Do you create a separate rubric for each assignment? Do your rubrics look more like checklists? Are your rubrics really assessing skills or simply the ability to follow assignment instructions? Have you ever thought of using one common skill-specific rubric for all related assignments?Continue reading
When I teach pronunciation, a feeling of unease claws at my chest. I scan the expectant faces from Iran, Turkey, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, China, Korea, Columbia and Cameroon. How do I respond to the needs of such an internationally diverse group?Continue reading
I believe that the first step to foster Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and independency in our students is to use critical thinking and inquiry. I teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to students who very often come from countries where neither SRL nor inquiry are particularly encouraged. I have been experimenting with critical thinking and inquiry and SRL skills in the classroom during my Master’s degree and I haven’t stopped. It is quite fascinating and rewarding. I would like to share a lesson in pronunciation I have recently adopted with one of my advanced EAP classes. Continue reading
Sometimes students come up with great ideas for learning! When I taught a couple of pronunciation classes at our local community college a few years ago, I was struck by the students’ use of their phones in class – not so much as a distraction or a deterrent to learning, but as an aid to help them produce accurate speech. The primary advantages I observed are that the phone can provide individual feedback at the touch of a button and that it is available for practice outside the classroom as well. Continue reading
If you can’t hear a sound, it is very difficult to reproduce it. Our students hear stressed syllables, which would be okay, except in English over 60% of our syllables are unstressed, and we often forget to teach them how to listen for those unstressed syllables.
English spelling compounds the problem. Continue reading
Do you have some go-to activities that you use for multiple teaching points? I have a few. I think it’s reassuring for students to see activities they recognize. They feel confident when they know what to do, and they can focus on the point being taught instead of learning the rules of a new game (ahem, I mean “learning activity”). It also doesn’t hurt that reusing ideas and materials reduces teacher prep time. For these reasons, here are three of my favourite flexible activities. Continue reading
Pronunciation is often jokingly referred to as the Cinderella of language teaching (Brinton, 2012). In many classrooms, it just doesn’t seem to get much attention. Continue reading
We all want our teaching to be interesting and effective. I regularly reflect on my teaching practice, and try to consider each of the following aspects of lesson planning*, particularly for grammar and pronunciation lessons. Let me share some tips that help me improve my lessons, and perhaps you will find an idea you could use.
Presenting the point
First, remind yourself of the scope of the lesson; know the needs and abilities of your students, and the time frame and focus of your class session. Aim not to overwhelm your class with too much information, but also not to under-interest your students with too little challenge. Continue reading
The Great Vowel Shift – it sounds like a superhero, but it’s actually a villain.